9 January 2014

A "Twitch" for Long-billed Plover

A good "East Asian" plover, Long-billed Plover (Charadrius placidus) breeds in northeast China and adjacent parts of Russia. With a preference for rocky riverbed habitat, it is nowhere common. Wintering birds disperse south, with records scattered through south China.
Long-billed Plover (Charadrius placidus) 
There are very few records of Long-billed Plover in Hong Kong, with the official "first" a bird found by Paul Aston (as I recall) near Kam Tin in February 1994. That bird was around for a month and I well remember it. There was also a one-day-only appearance of a Long-billed Plover in 1998 at Pak Nai.

This afternoon I received a message to the effect that John Allcock had found a Long-billed Plover in the concrete drainage channel (officially, - the "Kam Tin River" ) just north of the Kam Sheung Road West Rail Train station.


Long-billed Plover (Charadrius placidus) - top right - with Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) - bottom left
A fifteen minute drive, and there it was.  Looking larger and a shade duller than the numerous Little Ringed Plovers that also inhabit the area, it was poking around the slimy concrete.

Long-billed Plover (Charadrius placidus) 
Long-billed Plover (Charadrius placidus) 
Various birders turned up in the hour-and-a-half we were there. Like most HK "Twitches" it was a pleasant social occasion.


There was also a mystery pipit to keep us entertained… A first-winter Richard's (A. richardi) or a Blyth's (A. godlewski).




I don't know which, quite frankly. I won't be leading the charge to nail down the identification of this one.  Richard's Pipit is common in Hong Kong in winter - although not common in drains -  but Blyth's if confirmed - would be as rare as, well, Long-billed Plover. 


HK's third Long-billed Plover ! The promising start to the birding year continues...


11 comments:

  1. Nice Bird John, good photos as well. Never seen this species and have tried for them in Nepal many years back. Keep up the great blog…..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, W W ! We've only had three in the last twenty years..

      Delete
  2. I see a few Long Billed Plovers in Hokkaido every year, usually in winter...........strange to hear you twitching this (and the Brown Thrush). Mind you I got excited by the single Black Faced Spoonbill I saw here last year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the birding thrill of the unusual, isn't it ? Northern Lapwings are celebrated here... but birders don't give them a second glance in Europe.

      Delete
  3. I'd be very firmly in the Blyth's camp for the pipit John!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you're skilled enough to be in any particular "camp", Dave - I'm hiding from the debate on this one !

      Delete
  4. It's amazing what you get in Hong Kong! Our current rarity is a Long-toed Stint. Good luck sorting out the Pipit.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, H. W. ! I'll report what happens if we reach a resolution on the pipit. Long-toed Stint is a passage migrant here.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Agree with Dave that it's a Blyth's Pipit! Congrats on both lifers.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's certainly not a classic BLYTH's with that median covert pattern (which is pro-RICHARD'S) and hind claw (although there is overlap with the latter feature). One for Per Alstrom to sort out! :)

    ReplyDelete